Finding A New Normal

Last May, my son died.  We knew he was sick for 4 months, and that sooner or later – but probably sooner – he would die.  Life forever changed.

January 7th, 2013, marks the moment where my life forever changed.  In what we thought was going to be our fun, find out the gender, 20 week ultrasound, we found out that our baby was very sick.  The next day we visited the specialists who told us our baby had a rare chromosomal syndrome, Trisomy 18, and that it was fatal.  I have some incredibly detailed memories of those day and first weeks after finding out, but at the same time, those days and weeks are all a blur.

Our lives used to be pretty normal.  We are your pretty typical, average people.  We went to college, got married, worked, had a baby, all of those things people do.  We’ve had our good and bad moments, like everyone.  And both of our families have known tragedy, but generally speaking, he and I had lived pretty normal, easy lives until last year.  Once we found out that our baby was dying, our whole world changed.  Gabriel changed our lives.  But with this devastating news came a different life for us.  Nothing seemed normal any more.  I would watch normal life go on around me while I felt anything but normal.

We adjusted to a new normal.  We adjusted to having a dying child.  We adjusted to talking about health and death and Heaven and love with our 18 month old.  Instead of shopping at baby stores or boutiques, we looked at coffins and plots of land.  We adjusted to how to answer the questions people asked about my growing belly.  All of this really crazy stuff became our normal life.

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Then our baby was born alive.  We got to spend some time with him before he died.  We grieved hard those first weeks and months, like anyone does.  I remember so much wondering how our life could ever be normal after losing a child.  We were so glad our baby was in Heaven and that he was no longer sick, and we had great hope we would see him again one day and that God would sustain us here.  But it still hurt a lot.  It was like my brain couldn’t process.  But sure enough, as sure as it was part of us and our story, we did come a place of having a new normal.  A place where our 2 year old asks to go to the cemetery.  A place where I celebrate holidays by decorating a grave.  A place where we are a family of 4, but only 3 of us are here on this earth.  That was our new normal.

And now, as we are many months out from the loss of our second son, I can say that life feels pretty normal.  Well, most days.  But that’s true for all of us, right?  I feel like we maybe all have a new normal in some way or another.  Maybe it’s because of a death.  Maybe it’s a job loss.  Maybe it’s because you have a kid who never sleeps.  Maybe you live far away from those you love, or you live too close to those you love.  Maybe you want to have children so badly but haven’t been able to yet.  Maybe your kids were born from another woman but you are their mama.  Maybe your marriage isn’t what you dreamed it would be.  Maybe your life and marriage and kids are more than you ever thought you’d have.

We all have to adjust in life some time or another.  Most of us will know, if we haven’t already, what it’s like to have to figure out a new normal.  And it’s hard and it’s scary, and it can be kind of the worst.  But I know for me, it’s changed who I am, and I will always remember those precious days.

You can find more of our Gabriel’s story here.
And I would love to hear from you and hear your story – regular normal or new normal.  My email is [email protected]

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25 Responses to Finding A New Normal

  1. Jenny Greene January 23, 2014 at 7:50 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Lauren! We were not expecting to get pregnant when we did. Although it was an incredible blessing, I had to surrender a million plans and dreams to make room for this new normal. Some days were easier than others, but through it all I found God cradling me in His arms assuring me that He was there. That He would use even this enormous life change for His eternal purpose. I’m so thankful for you story of hope and trust even through the most unimaginable and painful of circumstances. Thank you!

    • lauren January 23, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

      thanks Jenny! xoxo

  2. Ashley January 23, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Jenny! Thank you SO much for sharing your story. While my son was not born alive, he was stillborn, I’ve been through the grief of losing a child. Through that journey a friend shared with me a book, “Holding on to Hope” by Nancy Guthrie, which I found to be very encouraging and your story reminded me a lot of hers. Anyway, just wanted to share that with you in case you haven’t heard of it and maybe you’ll find it encouraging, as well.

    • lauren January 23, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

      Hi Ashley! I’m so sorry you lost your child. Thank you for sharing here with us today! And thank you for that recommendation. Someone did give me that book, but I’ve yet to read it. I will definitely have to now. Thanks again! much love!

  3. Amy Ross January 23, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    Laure, we miss Gabriel with you and your family, and wish we were getting to watch him grown up daily alongside Jack. However, even in the midst of your heart ache and grief, we are so thankful for the incredible testimony you all are choosing to live out daily. The Morgans are such a blessing in our lives, and we love you, ALL FOUR OF YOU, dearly!

    • lauren January 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

      thank you for always remembering us sweet friend! oh the posts I could write about support from friends like you! much love!

  4. Janie January 23, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    You guys are an amazing example of allowing God to lead you through the trials of life.

    I have had many “new normal” moments in life, and though none as big as this, I am beginning to realize that life is just one big adjustment. It’s all in our response that life is truly lived. I can’t say that I ever imagined my life being what it is now, but all through my past, I can see God working. It truly is amazing.

    • lauren January 23, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

      thank you Janie! it’s by the grace of God that we are where we are. The parts of your story that I know are all big moments with lots of new normal adjustments! You’re probably a pro at it now!

  5. Becca Edwards January 23, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    As always, beautifully written post! So thankful for your sweet G and all that he has brought to your lives, as well as ours! The life you live out for all to see is inspiring and an honor to God. We love your precious boys and are so thankful for the Morgan’s in our lives!

    • lauren January 23, 2014 at 9:10 pm #

      Sweet friend!! Love you!!

  6. Lindsay January 23, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

    Lauren, my new normal looks nothing like your new normal, but I am beyond thankful for your experience and wisdom and words. Your story offers such hope to so many people. Survivors make the most beautiful people… And you are stunning. Thank you for sharing.

    • lauren February 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

      thanks so much Lindsay!

  7. Katie January 24, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your new normal.

    • lauren February 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

      thank you Katie!

  8. Nicole @ Just Live It January 26, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    I am so unbelievably sorry for your loss! But thank you for having the courage and strength to share your story. I know that this will be helpful to others going through the same thing.

    • lauren February 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

      thank you, Nicole. I appreciate your kind words. I hope it will help others, too!

  9. Michelle December 29, 2014 at 12:28 am #

    thank you for sharing! I too had a baby with trisomy 18 and one of the hardest things was people commenting on my growing belly and pretending everything was fine while I was dying inside. Thankfully, I now have three awesome teens!

    • Lauren February 9, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

      Michelle, I’m so sorry for your loss. That was an impossibly hard thing. Looking back I still can’t believe I did that.

  10. Carrie
    Carrie December 29, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    “We all have to adjust in life some time or another. Most of us will know, if we haven’t already, what it’s like to have to figure out a new normal. And it’s hard and it’s scary, and it can be kind of the worst. But I know for me, it’s changed who I am, and I will always remember those precious days.” So true.

    Tragedy and trauma are two things that are incredibly difficult to understand for someone who has never experienced it. Both are life-changers. Thank you for sharing your sweet (and incredibly difficult, yet beautiful) story. Finding a new normal is incredibly challenging, but as you said, those trying times can produce precious times and memories, no matter how painful. God is amazing that He can do just this, turn our mourning into songs of joy. Thank you for sharing that.

    • Lauren February 9, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

      Thank you, Carrie! So thankful for your beautiful words.

  11. Amanda Brzoska January 13, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. Our first baby had Turner’s Syndrome, another one of the “bad” chromosomal disorders. She was born still after an emergency induction at 20 weeks. I’m sure the rest of our stories are much the same. I just want to say that although you will never forget and will have moments of grief throughout your life, it will get less and less as time passes. Especially if you have other children. It’s not that they replace the one you lost. They just keep you busy and focused on living – and on them. That’s a good thing! I wish you peace and healing.

    • Lauren February 9, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

      Thank you, Amanda. I’m so sorry you lost your daughter.

  12. Jenny January 21, 2015 at 9:15 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this. I have recently been going through very hard times with illness in my family. I feel devastated most days, but I found your post to be a great comfort. Thank you for writing.

    • Lauren February 9, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

      Jenny, I’m so sorry for the very difficult time you are going through. Please email me if you ever want to talk –> [email protected]

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